The Small Victories in Recovery
A couple days ago, I arrived at a Mountain Retreat nestled in farm country in Vermont. I won a contest that I entered back in January. I would not have known anything about the contest or this place if it hadn’t been for a friend that told me about it.
“God Bless the Freaks”
When I am in an AA Meeting, no matter where that Meeting is, I feel like I belong, right down to my core. Several times when I have been on the road and unable to make a meeting for a couple days when I do, there is a slow inhale and exhale – a reconnection, a “Honey, I am home” feeling. That feeling eluded me for 51 years. That feeling eluded me again last night.
When I am with creatives, very much like my friend, I feel like we understand each other. Much like my friend, (the normal one who told me about the contest), creatives can be a joy to be around. There is laughter, there is empathy, they are interesting. And because we all feel at ease, we open up to one another in a way we don’t feel like we could if we were hanging out in a room full of Engineers.
But there is a difference with that feeling with creatives than it is in a Meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. No one is going to die if they don’t go to their Writing Group. The reality of my disease, the honesty and raw nature of what we talk about is completely lost on someone that is a creative writer. When I share about our disease, they are open to it. Many have had alcoholics in their lives and are grasping to understand.
But what I am understanding is, the intense gratitude I have for finally – FINALLY finding the depth of belonging, the understanding and emotional devotion of AA and my fellow alcoholic. The necessity of carrying the message to the struggling alcoholic that has not felt the relief and connection I have being with “My Tribe.”
If I was still drinking I would never have been here. But let’s just say IF I was still alive and I managed to shake, rattle and roll my way through the back roads of paradise with plenty of “supplies” to get here without “the wheels coming off.”
Last night would have been a disaster. I always thought I was a creative that was my Tribe. I didn’t feel pressure of acceptance in how I dressed, looked and talked in order to fit in. Until I found AA, I thought that was enough.
But Now I Know
The reality of the daily life and death situation that alcoholism deals us, puts us at a level of belonging and understanding a little different than wearing weird shoes or having a tattoo to express ourselves. Certainly that is PART of me too, but the simple fact of living “One Day At A Time” because tomorrow I could be dead based on my choice or whether or not to drink, is quite different. We don’t have time for flowery language, pretty creative sayings on the wall, there is too much at stake and we know it.
I must have needed to be reminded. I am grateful.